A win over the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night cost the New Jersey Devils one of their best players.
New Jersey will be without star left-wing Ilya Kovalchuk tonight as they take on the new Winnipeg Jets at the Prudential Center at 7 p.m. The game can be seen locally on MSG Plus 2.
Kovalchuk injured himself in the third period of the Devils 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers. The left-wing was chasing down Danny Briere on the backcheck when he felt a pop in his leg. He missed the rest of the period and didn't return for overtime or the shootout. Kovalchuk tried to participate in today's morning skate, but left with trainer Rich Stinziano.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said the injury shouldn't shelve Kovalchuk for an extended period of time.
"Just on the fact that he showed up today, felt better, wanted to skate, that tells me that," DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "I don't believe it's long-term, but I'm not a doctor either and I've been wrong on these things. But I don't believe that's the case."
Andy Greene will also miss tonight's game. The defenseman sat out Thursday night's game with a lower body injury.
Even with the injuries, DeBoer refused to complain about the injuries.
"No one wants to hear anyone in this league complain about injuries," he told Gulitti. "I complain about them today and I'm sure the guy in Winnipeg, Claude (Noel), can do the same and probably top me. It's part of the business, you accept it and the teams that get to the playoffs are the ones that work through it the best and we have to be one of those teams."
The Jets enter tonight's game 3-1-0 on their current six-game road trip. It's the first time the Jets will visit the Prudential Center. The former Atlanta Thrashers shut out the New York Islanders, 3-0, Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Former Devil Johnny Oduya led all skaters with two points, including his first goal of the season. Alexander Burmistrov and Evander Kane were the other goal scorers. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 34 shots for the shutout.
New Jersey had to battle back from two deficits to win their game against the Flyers. After falling behind, 2-0, in the second period, Zach Parise and Adam Henrique pulled the Devils even. Max Talbot put Philadelphia back ahead, 3-2, early in the third period. David Clarkson eliminated that one-goal deficit, tying the game and forcing overtime. Parise and Patrik Elias scored in the shootout, breaking the Devils three-game skid.
Martin Brodeur will start in net tonight against Winnipeg. He's lost his past two decisions, allowing five goals in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Clarkson, who's scored goals in his past two games, will shift to the top line tonight. It's a move Kovalchuk thinks is well deserved.
"He's on fire right now," the injured left wing told Gulitti. "Especially his backhand."